Firefighters Make Gains on Blaze Near Yosemite

Firefighters were slowly gaining the upper hand Sunday on a wildfire near Yosemite National Park in central California.

The 300-acre blaze was 65 percent contained, and an evacuation order already has been lifted for most of the 300 homes most threatened by the fire, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. A portion of Highway 49, a main entrance into the park, was briefly closed.

The fire broke out Friday afternoon and threatened a total of 700 homes and five businesses.

Steep terrain in the area and the dry conditions brought on by California's drought initially hampered firefighters, one of whom received a minor injury Friday but was treated and is now home, officials said.

The burn area is about 15 miles southwest of Yosemite.

Meanwhile, in far Northern California, firefighters increased their control over a blaze that broke out nearly a month ago despite it growing to almost 130 square miles. U.S. Forest Service officials said Sunday that no structures have been damaged, and the fire was 30 percent contained.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department on Saturday night issued an evacuation advisory for an undetermined number of residents in a neighborhood newly threatened by the fire. The residents weren't required to leave but advised to prepare to evacuate. The sheriff's office rescinded evacuation warnings for residents elsewhere in the area.

A "red flag'' warning for dangerous fire conditions near that blaze was also rescinded Saturday night as humidity increased.

Forest Service officials estimate that $54.7 million has been spent and nearly 2,700 people used to fight the fire.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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